Water Monitor

The day before yesterday after another three week stay in Penang I once again returned to Thailand by boat. While waiting for a boat that was headed to Thailand I saw one of the biggest water monitors I have ever seen. I only got a glimpse before it ran underneath the wharf I was standing on so I could only photograph the footprints it left behind. However later when I was on the boat waiting them to finish loading it with goods I was able to get a photo of its head and neck. After over three hours of waiting the boat finally left, unfortunately it didn’t get very far before it was pulled over and boarded by Malaysian customs officers and told to return to port. There I had to wait nearly another hour while the boat captain explained why he didn’t have his papers in order and didn’t pay tax on his cargo. Once the issues were resolved we got back on the boat and I returned to Thailand to sleep in my bed for the first time in three weeks.

Smog Story

This past month there was some terrible smog blanketing much of Southeast Asia. Unfortunately it’s a seasonal problem that occurs during the Indonesian dry season which is around August and September. At this time irresponsible companies burn large swaths of pristine rainforest in order to clear land for palm oil plantations in addition to burning to clear unwanted vegetation in existing plantations. This year was particularly bad and as usual most of the hot spots were in Sumatra and Kalimantan Indonesia. The air started getting really bad the last few days I was in Penang but I was able to escape the smog once I returned to Thailand.

However after a couple weeks of being in the clear the winds shifted north and the smog made it to my house so I decided to go north by train to Chumphon which was just out of the smog’s reach. I stayed there for a few days on a nice quiet beach and waited for the fires to burn out or be put out and for the winds to shift directions so the air at my house could return to normal. As soon as the air became suitable for breathing again I returned home. Hopefully this year’s public outcry will cause the Indonesian government to take this problem more seriously. A few days ago I saw a bird and a spider that could represent the dangerous and pristine air.

Fund Raiser

I came to Penang nearly 2 weeks ago to visit the kids and get another 30 entry stamp for Thailand. I was only planning on staying for 3 days but once again I was persuaded by the kids to extend my stay. I was also asked by the management of the children’s home to help out with some planning for a fund raising event that they hope will provide adequate funds for relocating. I broke out a tape measure and some old auto-cad skills and drew a detailed floor plan which helped the organizers figure out where everything was going to fit. I also agreed to stick around to help them move everything into place this weekend and after the event successfully concludes I will be going back to my lovely home in rural Thailand.

The House Shitter

I caught a big Tokay gecko yesterday. Unlike smaller house geckos which leave little droppings in exchange for the service of clearing any insects that make it into the house the much larger Tokay gecko takes big shits all over everything. Moreover at night they often make loud calls which can be very annoying if you’re nearby. Most people around here just kill them since it’s easier to kill than capture but I wouldn’t kill such a beautiful creature so I caught him without harming him and released him on the other side of a nearby river where there aren’t any houses for him to get into trouble at. I later celebrated the successful catch and release with some durian.

Make America Think Harder – Yang2020!

I support Andrew Yang for President because he’s a pragmatic and independent minded data-driven thinker with the brain power and temperament to lead the U.S. in solving its most serious and pressing problems. His human-centered approach to capitalism will make life better for Americans of all walks of life now and into the future, and his proposal for a universal basic income, aka the Freedom Dividend, is an old idea whose time has come and should be implemented before, rather than after, there is an economic and social crisis due to the millions of Americans who over the next decade will have their jobs automated away. The Freedom Dividend will help support those affected by this inevitable wave of automation as they seek/create new economic opportunities.

The Freedom Dividend will also help ensure that all Americans have a chance to pursue their passions instead of having to shelve their passions to work at soul-crushing jobs just in order to feed themselves and this can/will lead to increased creativity and entrepreneurship. Moreover unlike disability and some other forms of government welfare the Freedom Dividend would not discourage anyone from working for fear of losing their benefits. Furthermore a thousand dollars a month will not provide meaning or sense of purpose and is definitely not enough money to live on comfortably so people will still seek/create economic opportunities. Instead of having so many people stressed out, on the edge, and using opiates to cope we can collectively decide to give everyone a little bit of breathing room to figure out how they can best contribute to society and improve their lot in life.

If anything the Freedom Dividend should not be seen not as socialist policy but as a libertarian one because it will make people more free to choose. It will not and does not seek to achieve equality of outcome, it merely seeks to improve equality of opportunity. As Yang has said it’s still capitalism it’s just capitalism that doesn’t start at zero. Moreover it will not require any new government bureaucracies as government will not decide which Americans get this money or how they use it. Sure some people will make poor choices but these poor choices can at least be discouraged through the value added taxes which will help pay for the Freedom Dividend, i.e., in addition to targeting luxury goods these value added taxes can also target unhealthy consumption, e.g., cigarettes, alcohol, and sweetened beverages. A policy like this could do wonders to improve health, alleviate stress, keep families together, and enable more children to grow up in environments conducive to their healthy development.

I hope you’ll go on to check out the policy information on his website and some of his videos on YouTube. You will find him to have a solid understanding and an enlightened stance on many issues however it’s just that the universal basic income is the one that gets the most attention because he is the only one looking ahead and seeing the near-future clearly enough to propose one.

d

P.S. I think Yang will gain traction over the next few months provided they keep his mic on and let him speak for more than 3 minutes in future debates and enough people seek to learn more about him and his policies. If I am wrong and he is unable to gain traction then I will be supporting Sanders like I did in 2016. RCP Poll Average

Badminton

I went to the city to buy some vegetables and play some indoor badminton today. As usual It was fun to play with a proper net and boundaries and without any wind but it’s way too hot in those breeze-free buildings. I can’t imagine wearing socks, shoes, and a shirt in that kind of stagnant heat while playing badminton like everyone else does. Luckily I haven’t seen any No shirt, No shoes, No service signs at the entrances to these places.

I hope this post reminds you and this video motivates you to go and play some badminton, however unlike just about everyone else that plays this and many other games remember to play with your right and left hands, your shoulder and the rest of your body will thank you for it.

Bowling: New Technique New Record

Last month I rolled a record breaking 247 which is over 30 pins higher than my previous high game. Although I’m still rolling a 12 pound house ball straight without any hook on it before I was just rolling the ball in a straight line from the center to the pocket and now I roll the ball in a straight line from the side to the pocket. This allows the ball to hit the pins at a slight angle which gets more pin action and more strikes. If you’re throwing a straight ball I recommend you try releasing the ball next to the right gutter when you bowl with your right hand and next to the left gutter when you bowl with your left hand. That way when the ball does hit the pocket it will do so at a slight angle and increase your chances of getting a strike.

P.S. Today I set a new left hand record with a 170.

新年快樂!

Happy New Year! 新年快樂!

Sheen = new 新
Nee-en = year 年
Kwai Luh = happy 快樂

Sheen Nee-en Kwai Luh! Try it if you encounter a Chinese speaking person this week because unlike the Western New Year Chinese New Year, aka Spring Festival, is a multi-day mega holiday that doesn’t officially conclude until the 15th day which marks the first full moon of the new year and is celebrated as Lantern Festival.

2019

Happy New Year, here are a few photos from my January 1st 2019.

Strike

After many years of not bowling I started bowling once in a while with the kids however last time I went alone in the afternoon while they were at school so I could focus. I arrived at the bowling alley with the goal of bowling a 180 or above which is something I’ve only done two or three times in my life and not for the last two decades or so. After a few games I was able to throw a 183 with my right hand and a 150 with my left. Note: I used a 12 pound house ball and only threw straight balls, no hooks. I was so happy with those two last games that I didn’t want to start a new one even though I still had around 10 minutes on my one hour lane rental so instead of starting a new game I decided to try some experimental throws.

I was the only person bowling in the entire place and just as I was about to leave a group of people arrived and were gathering near my lane so for my final shot I positioned myself in front of the lane but I was facing towards the people and away from the pins. I then did a normal pendulum throw but instead of releasing the ball in the front of the swing I held on to it and released it in the back. After releasing the ball I struck a pose that might have been seen in some late 70’s disco and I held it legs split, one arm up, and bent over looking behind me with everything upside down until BOOM, strike! I then stood up and looked up at the group of people who were watching and they all immediately broke into a round of applause. It was hilarious.

Bowling Trick Shots

P.S. I’ve always wanted to break 200 and 12 days after this post I finally I did!

Dog Bite

There was a tokay gecko at the restaurant near my home and the owners wanted it gone because it was defecating all over their kitchen. A couple of weeks ago I saw it on the wall so I grabbed a kitchen towel to protect myself from it’s blood-drawing bite and captured it. I then proudly showed the owners the big gecko and one of them asked if he could kill it which is what they probably do to any tokay geckos that try taking up residence at their restaurant.

I was like why would you want to kill such a beautiful specimen when you could just walk across the street, a little ways into the forest, and release it into the wild. I told them that’s where I was headed and that I first just wanted to show them the fellow that’s been shitting all over their kitchen. The point of this introduction is to tell you that I had no reason to venture out onto the road and into the forest that night and only did so so I could release this tokay gecko.

Continue reading

A Terrible Decision

If making America great again means going against the strong, sincere, and wise recommendations of just about every citizen on planet earth including the nation’s and the world’s top business leaders and seriously damaging U.S. credibility and moral standing in the world in order to take a selfish, immoral, and irresponsible unilateral action which is against the wishes of the majority of the citizens you’re supposed to represent and with no concern of the immediate and long-term effects it will have on others in and outside of the U.S. then Mr. Trump you, Bannon, and Pruitt are off to a good start and I assure you that you’ve made history, just not the kind your grandchildren are going to be proud of.

As for where to go from here, are your senators one of the 22 that recently signed a letter urging Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement? Have you contacted them and expressed your extreme disapproval of their position on climate change and role in this disastrous decision?

Don’t just blame Trump for quitting the Paris deal — blame the Republican Party

The Republicans who urged Trump to pull out of Paris deal are big oil darlings

Tell your Governor to uphold the standards of the Paris Agreement.

Add your name to condemn Trump’s reckless abandonment of the Paris Climate Agreement!

P.S I’m still thinking about what to do with this blog and about what I can do to help mitigate the environmental damage caused by profligate individuals living in America and around the world. I hope to have something figured out and started by the end of the year. In the meantime have fun being alive on a planet that isn’t nearly as beautiful as it once was but is still awesome.

Individual action: what you can do about climate change

Climate Change

Don’t just blame Trump for quitting the Paris deal — blame the Republican Party

The Republicans who urged Trump to pull out of Paris deal are big oil darlings

Tell your Governor to uphold the standards of the Paris Agreement.

Add your name to condemn Trump’s reckless abandonment of the Paris Climate Agreement!

Individual action: what you can do about climate change

Seven Things to Know About Climate Change

A List of Climate Change Solutions From Drawdown.org

Contact: White House     U.S. Senate     U.S. House of Representatives

Support: Natural Resources Defense Council   EarthJustice   350.org   The Climate Reality Project   Greenpeace

P.S I’m still thinking about what to do with this blog and about what I can do to help mitigate the environmental damage caused by profligate individuals living in America and around the world. I hope to have something figured out and started by the end of the year. In the meantime have fun being alive on a planet that isn’t nearly as beautiful as it once was but is still awesome.

Monsoon Season

2017 begins much like 2016 ended, rain and more rain. After a few days of heavy rain the once peaceful little creek that ran along the side of my home has swollen into a raging river. I’m not too worried about that however I am a bit worried about all the rain bringing down a large tree on a steep slope that has my roof in its sights. Earlier today I went to pick some fruit but was unable to make it to the orchard due to much bigger raging river. I thought about testing my luck but if the rapidly moving knee deep water that was covering the narrow bridge took out one of my legs the other would certainly follow and I’d be washed off the bridge and pummeled against many boulders as I was sent downstream so it wasn’t worth it, not even for some rollinia.

December

Today is the first day of the last month of the year and I hope this month will be far less disappointing than last month. I’ve been relatively busy with work and thinking deep thoughts the past couple weeks so you may have noticed I haven’t been posting like I was Pre-Trump. I won’t be chiming in here again until New Years however in the meantime I will continue to try and help get important links noticed on Twitter.

P.S. A friend of someone I buy fruit from got hit by a car a few days ago in front of the fruit sellers home, went into a coma, and died a few days later. It reminded me of a very promising individual who was hit and killed on his bike at the age of 14 by a careless driver so with both of them in mind I say please be careful on and around the road especially if you happen to be in Thailand or in one of the few other places with as abysmal of a traffic safety record.

DJT at NYT

In an interview at the New York Times yesterday President-elect Trump said he was open minded and carefully looking at the issue of climate change. Now more than ever is the time to voice your support for the Paris Climate Agreement and the Clean Power Plan. Please contact the President-elect and urge him to stay in the Paris Climate Agreement, ensure the U.S. keeps it’s Paris commitments, and continues to lead the world in its effort to curb climate change!

The evidence is overwhelming and we have far too much to risk.

Tweet to him.

Send him a message on Instagram.

Share your thoughts with him on Facebook.

Contact him via the Presidential transition website.

Trump’s Presidential Transition Update

In a video updating the world on his presidential transition and explaining some of his policy plans for his first 100 days in office Trump said he will “Cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy”, i.e., he will cancel health and environmental protecting restrictions on the production of dirty, unsustainable, and climate change exacerbating energy.

If Trump continues down this road pushed along by the likes of climate change denier Myron Ebell he will not only hurt America’s chance to lead the world in renewable energy he will also hurt humanity’s chance to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change; and all in exchange for some coal industry profits and a few unhealthy and unsafe jobs for people to blow up mountain tops, crawl into coal mines, burn coal, and dispose of coal ash.

If you like this a video sign this petition from the organization that made it.

Keep fossil fuel industry funded climate change deniers like Myron Ebell away from the EPA

The petition can be found here and if you agree please sign, comment, and help it get noticed. Also please support this petition as well along with any similar ones you may find because it’s important that those of us who care about maintaining and furthering the progress made in addressing climate change over the past 8 years are as vocal as possible because the best shot we have at positively influencing the path the Trump administration takes on climate change, and other issues, over the next four years is NOW.

I stole the following article from the Steve Bannon run Breitbart News, which I just read is now the most widely-read conservative site in America, because I didn’t want to link to it and give them the benefit of a few extra clicks on their advertisement loaded website that keeps automatically reloading and is severely affecting my internet speed. I re-post this article not to make you cringe but to give you some background on the guy we’re trying to get fired and in hopes it will motivate you to support this petition.

Continue reading

U.S. Electoral Reform

Besides the need to reduce the influence of money in politics the way people vote and the way candidates are elected also needs to change if we’re going to allow people to vote for their first choice without having to worry about “wasting” their vote or “spoiling” an election. If you’re interested in ranked choice voting and electing presidents based upon which presidential candidate receives the most votes then learn more and sign up for email updates via the links below.

FairVote.org

National Popular Vote

“New York City, Mr. Trump!”

I went to the beach today in hopes some sun, sand, and salt water would cleanse me of the last 24 hours. I did some snorkeling and saw some beautiful fish as I picked a few pieces of old plastic out of the ocean. Seeing an old and disintegrating plastic bag that has become attached to the sea floor wave back and forth with the currents like an underwater plant makes you realize how easy it is for a hungry fish to nibble away at it thinking it was food and not something that was going to get stuck in its stomach and eventually kill it. The largest fish I saw was only about half the size of my hand probably because like in many other parts of the world people have eaten just about anything worth eating however there were still small fish which came in a variety of shapes and colors.

I wonder if the decedents of these fish will be there when children today are my age or if they will vanish along with most of the world’s coral reefs due to a slight increase in water temperature and acidity as a result of all the carbon released into the atmosphere from all the fossil fuels we’re burning and forests we’re cutting down in order to satisfy our hunger for cheap meat and palm oil? While I was waiting for the boat back I was passed by a morbidly obese man probably in his late twenties. One of the Thai boatmen said “Hey, where you from?” and he replied “New York City.”, then the Thai boatman says “New York City, Mr. Trump!” and the fat guy says “Mr. Trump” as he does a big thumbs up at which time the same nausea and leg weakness I experienced on election night slightly returned as I once again thought about all the environmental consequences of this election. Should have been Bernie however it is what it is, now it’s time to fuel up and fight on!

Post Election Day Dinner